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Wal-mart shop lights

Posted by dcarch (My Page) on
Wed, Feb 21, 07 at 9:11

Wal-Mart shop lights

There are many of you who have purchased Wal-Mart shop lights for grow lights. They are incredibly inexpensive. However, please note the following:

1. They are not very well made. All components are snap together type of construction and can be easily broken or become loose during transit and installation.
2. One of mine started a fire because the bulb was not making good contact with the socket and the arc melted the plastic housing.
3. The ballast is not housed in metal casing at all. I am not sure I feel comfortable about having high voltage in a flimsy plastic housing.
4. Looking at the circuit board, the electronic power components are not heat-sinked. I dont know what temperature they are running at.
5. Although the spec says the fixture meets FCC requirements, but in examining the circuit board, I didnt see any efforts in radio frequency shielding /grounding. Not having the ballast in a metal casing also will allow RF to escape. If some of you have access to a RF field strength meter to check this out would be nice. Be careful if you have any electronic devices (pace maker) which may be sensitive to RF interference.

dcarch


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Wal-mart shop lights

Are these the Lights of America shoplights? I've purchased 6 to make 3 overdriven fixtures. Hopefully the ballasts will run cooler since i'm overdriving single tubes with them.

Do you happen to know the ballast factor off hand?


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RE: Wal-mart shop lights

3. Metal conducts electricity, plastic doesn't, use the right one in the right place ;)

5. THD for these ballasts is very high. No doubt they meet FCC regulations but that doesn't mean they don't emit RF radiation. The regs allow ISM equipment to emit at essentially unlimited power in certain bands and at much lower power in restricted bands. All high frequency electronic ballasts emit RF radiation, higher THD means higher levels. Even the ones that say "NO RF interference" just mean they are emitting without the defined limits therefore it isn't "interference". This shouldn't be an issue (I predict one massive lawsuit if anyone's pacemaker goes dodgy because of a fluorescent light) unless you are paranoid about getting cancer from radio waves or your next door neighbour is a ham radio fanatic :)


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RE: Wal-mart shop lights

I just bought these same lamps recently (I just posted a question about them). Many of your concerns, dcarch, are on the box. It says to check the connection because the bulbs can be loosened during transport. It also says that you can have interference with remote control, wireless electronics, etc. Probably couldn't sue them since they put the warnings on the packaging.


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RE: Wal-mart shop lights

Typical imports from China where there are no regs.

Buy American if possible. When will we learn?


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RE: Wal-mart shop lights

Um, yeah, deweymn, Big "Made in America" stamp on the box the light came in. I am sure that is the Chinese's fought as well, though!


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RE: Wal-mart shop lights

Ok, tanyag, let's put it this way: You get what you pay for. Is that better?

"I am sure that is the Chinese's fought as well, though"

Clarify this sentence, please.


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RE: Wal-mart shop lights

typing too fast; meant fault. Just frustrated because I keep seeing these same rantings in several post. It gets old. To bed with it.


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RE: Wal-mart shop lights

Nonsense!

I don't find these Lights of America fixtures to be cheap at all. I've had mine for over three years now and has never given me a single problem. I bought another fixture from Wal-Mart a few months ago to use for my House plants and has worked wonderfully since the day i bought it home. To grade a product as "cheap" or "junk" because of it's low price, is just wrong. Regardless of what country this light is made in, it is a very good light for the price.

(Would also like to add that not everything that comes out of China should be automatically labeled as inferior to a U.S version of the product.)

- Pete


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RE: Wal-mart shop lights

plantfreak727'

1. It is not the originasl intend of this post to discuss China.
2. It is not the original intend to relate price with quality.
3. I am happy that you have good experience with the lights. I will have to argue that you are one of the very few who consider these lights as high quality.

Thank you for your opinion.

dcarch


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RE: Wal-mart shop lights

I have one of those same lights and have had no problems with it. In facti, I'm planning on buying another one.


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RE: Wal-mart shop lights

I'm not sure how helpful it is to say you have such and such a light and it works. If only 10% of the lights fails to work, breaks down quickly, or starts a fire, that would be a pretty bad product but 90% of people would likely be very happy with it.


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RE: Wal-mart shop lights

I don't know anything technical about electricity, but when they blew my circuits when I turned them on, I brought mine right back to WalMart.


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RE: Wal-mart shop lights

4 of mine are just fine but the 5th one only worked intermittently so I am taking it back. They must have changed the design on them also. The first 2 I purchased had white end covers and the next 3 were black. I will say that I don't like the design of the black ones because the wiring for the balast is right where you put your S hook for the chain and it is difficult to get it in place.


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RE: Wal-mart shop lights

We have purchased 3 or 4 of them over the last 6 years or so and they are great for the price. I don't feel like anyone should worry about purchasing these. If these dont work for you then just take them and exchange them like anything else. I would like to say though that all of them that I purchased were the same with the white end covers and not the black, cannot say anything about the black.


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RE: Wal-mart shop lights

I just disassembled one and derived the circuit schematic.
Yes they are a low cost design but the ubiquitous $2 compact
fluorescent bulbs are far worse in my experience. At least
the ballast in the LOA Wally lights is a discrete design and
easily repairable should it become defunct.

Incidentally all CF bulbs I've seen as well as the LOA
shoplight fixture under discussion have internal fuses to
protect against over current scenarios. I can't see it
possible for a fault in the light to trip a mains breaker
unless there was a short in the power cord or line wiring
before it hits the ballast PC board.


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RE: Wal-mart shop lights

I bought 4 of those Lights of America (4 foot 2-tube white fluorescents) @~$7.50 a few weeks ago to expand my indoor garden. They have the white ends. One failed last week, presumably the ballast, and when I returned it the price had jumped to $8.32. A second one failed today. I can't blame Walmart, they do stand behind everything they sell, but someone is sending them really shoddy merchandise.
Incidentally I have not been able to get TV Channels 4 or 5 for some weeks: 90% washed-out by static, no sound at all on channel 4. Could the fluorescents (5 walmart now, 2 home depot cheapies) be doing that? I'm in controlled housing, and only allowed an indoor antenna since about 2 months ago. I've tried 3 so far. None receive those channels adequately, although the stations are less than 10 miles away.(

P.S. When Lights of America first came out with the circline fluorescents in the 1980's I switched over completely. In all that time I have only had 2 burn out, and those during the past 12 months. Wot Hoppen?


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